How much do you know about sunscreen?


Children can get skin cancer too, so make sure that their skin is covered with sunscreen when they go out. — TNS

Did you know that sunscreen has a shelf life and can expire?

Or that too much heat or cold can ruin a new bottle?

Protecting your skin from harmful sun rays will help against inflammation, burns, premature ageing, and most importantly, skin cancer.

And you might think a dermatologist is going to ask you to ban the sun.

However, Mayo Clinic dermatologist Dr Dawn Davis says: “There’s nothing wrong with being outside in the sun.”

Ultraviolet (UV) light, is a carcinogen – that’s where sunscreen helps.

“Sunscreen can act as a carcinogen barrier to help keep your skin safe,” she says.

Keep these sunscreen facts in mind when you’re reaching for your favourite bottle:

  • Sunscreen can expire, affecting the active ingredient and the preservative.
  • Sunscreen is sensitive to extreme temperatures – keep it out of direct sun and don’t let it freeze in the fridge.
  • People who have darker skin tones also need to wear sunscreen.

Bottomline, everyone over the age of six months needs sunscreen, babies included.

“It is a layman’s myth that children do not get skin cancer.

“And it’s a layman’s myth that a person of colour cannot have skin cancer,” says Dr Davis.

And lastly, she notes: “There literally is no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen.”

Apply sunscreen, and after you get wet, reapply.

To be effective, sunscreen needs to be used liberally, so be generous with your portions.

It’s recommended to use 30 millilitres of sunscreen – the amount in a shot glass – to cover exposed parts of the body.

You might need to apply more, depending on your body size.

If you have a 118ml bottle, you’ll use about a quarter of it during one application. – By Deb Balzer/Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service

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